To WordPress or not to WordPress?

Back in 2014, the National Botanic Garden of Wales asked us to look into their ailing WordPress site.

The previous site had been in place for more than five years and suffered a familiar set of issues. The site was poorly configured for the Garden’s needs, relying solely only on posts and pages rather than custom-post-types or custom-fields. It relied on a tangled mishmash of plugins, some of which were no longer supported. All of this added up to a user-experience for the staff managing the site had effectively stopped creating new content.

As a result, the Garden was understandably very reluctant to build their new site on WordPress (spoiler alert: we went with WP, and it did a great job).

Information Architecture - the what?, where? and whys?

We started with stakeholder interviews, meeting staff and volunteers from each team at the Garden to understand all of the different types of data that the site would need (e.g. Garden areas, events, people, living attractions etc.), and the relationships between those data types.

We documented this information architecture and used it as the basis for our design.

By the numbers

The Garden site is the most largest WordPress site that we’ve built. It has:

  • 40+ individual content templates
  • 10 custom post-types
  • Hundreds of custom-fields across those post-types
  • 100+ pages
  • All content in both English and Welsh

At the same time, we had to build a consistent and well laid-out user interface, so that the 40-50 current content editors wouldn’t step on each others’ toes.